Proposed Approval of Conservation Plan
The National Park Service (NPS) proposes a No Adverse Effect determination for (and thus approval of) the implementation of a Conservation Plan proposed by the owners of Ionia, a 146-acre farm situated in the Green Springs National Historic Landmark District. The Plan, developed by the United States Dept. of Agriculture to reflect USDA Best Practices, and in consultation with the owners—and to be implemented by them with a USDA grant—is reviewed under the terms of the NPS-managed conservation easement for Ionia, dating to 1992. NPS views the proposed Conservation Plan as in accord with the NPS conservation easement, the "Purpose" section of which includes the goal of "foster the continuation of responsible agricultural and conservation practices."
For illustrations and supporting documentation, including delineation of the Area of Potential Effect, see "Illustrations & Site Plan" in the Document List section of this webpage.
The NPS excludes from its review the following component-actions in the proposed Conservation Plan, since the "Reserved Rights" section of the NPS conservation easement reserves to Ionia's owners, "the right to use the entire premises...or any portion thereof for agricultural use," and defines such use to include "the keeping of animals...and also including such related activities as dairies, stockpens, etc., directly associated with the agricultural use of the land.... ": (1) establish native warm-season grasses on 13.1 acres for grazing in areas already used for pastureland, and (2) establish perennial vegetative cover on 10.3 acres to be removed from agricultural use.
As per that same reserved right—and also recognizing that another section of the easement stipulates that, "No archeological remains or paleontological remains or objects of historical or scientific value shall be disturbed by the Grantors," but that the Virginia Cultural Resource Information System (VCRIS) includes no archaeological resources or archeology labels for Ionia, the NPS also excludes from its review the following component actions of the proposed Conservation Plan: (1) add approx. 1,100 feet of underground livestock-trough water-piping to the existing piping system of approx. 3,000 feet, (2) add a new well and an adjacent pumping-station, both mainly underground with 1-2 feet visible above-ground, to the existing two wells at other locations on the property, (3) add one watering-trough to the existing two troughs elsewhere on the property, and (4) add concrete-and-gravel surfacing under and around the new trough and an existing trough.
As per another right reserved to the owners in the NPS conservation easement—"the right to erect and maintain fences..for the purpose of controlling unauthorized use and establishing boundaries, provided such fences and markers shall be in conformity with neighboring properties and not materially alter the scenic quality of the Protected Property"—the NPS reviews only the aesthetic/visual aspects of the final component of the proposed Plan: establishing boundaries for riparian/wetlands/conservation areas by adding 2 miles of new post-and-wire fencing to the existing approx. 4 miles of fencing. Most of the latter is post-and-wire, so the NPS proposes judging the new fencing "in conformity" and thus posing No Adverse Effect.
Of the proposed Plan's component-actions, none come closer to either cemetery on the property than the proposed well/pump (250' north of the northernmost cemetery) and a new concrete mounting-pad and gravel-surfacing for an existing watering-trough (300' east of the southernmost cemetery).
The conservation easement also stipulates the following, which NPS would make a condition of its No Adverse Determination: during project-implementation the owners shall notify the NPS in the event "of any archeological, paleontological or historical finding" and "mark the location of the discovery and await reasonable and timely instructions" from the NPS.
Noel Harrison, Manager of Easements, 540-693-3200 x1020